Pictured: One of the “Gogos” (Grandmothers) at Likhon iThembawho who cooks food for the children and is thankful for the support of The Prem Rawat Foundation.
The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) has expanded an initiative to feed vulnerable and disabled children in Durban, South Africa.
The partnership between TPRF and Likhon iThemba, a local nonprofit that means “there is hope” in the Zulu language, began last year in the wake of torrential floods that devastated disadvantaged communities in Durban.
To help people recover, TPRF distributed $48,000 in grants to five local organizations, including Likhon iThemba, to provide food, water and shelter. The initial aid was greatly appreciated but the floods aggravated ongoing local challenges. A new TPRF grant of $8,000 will help Likhon iThemba expand the Gogo Kitchen project, feeding children who often suffer from malnutrition and HIV.
Peace Education Program Director Willow Baker (pictured left) recently met with some of the Gogo participants in Durban.
“Gogo” means “grandmother” in Zulu and the kitchens are staffed by beloved local elders. The modest new TPRF grant will go a long way, enabling the Gogo program to serve 120 children nutritious meals 5-7 days a week, doubling the current amount of 3 meals per week that they are able to provide. Likhon iThemba also provides a safe place for children after school where they can do homework, stay off the streets and receive adult mentorship.
The three Gogo Kitchens serve disadvantaged neighborhoods which have some of the highest rates of HIV in the world. Many children take HIV medication and if the medication is taken on an empty stomach, they get sick. At the kitchens, the children are able to take their medication on a full stomach after their meals. Likhon iThemba also runs homes for abandoned infants and disabled children.
“We cannot fully express our gratitude to The Prem Rawat Foundation for your support and care for our program. We at Likhon iThemba are continually inspired by the dedication and generosity of donors like yourself who answer the call to give again and again. We are so excited that now we can grow our daily reach thanks to your support, providing the children with more nutritious meals and a safe place,” says Leanne Lorrance, Likhon iThemba Director.
“I am personally touched by this Gogo program and I’m struck by how similar it is to the Food for People program,” says Marcia Leitner, TPRF Executive Director. “Thank you to all of the TPRF donors who make meaningful work like this possible. You are touching hearts and changing lives.”
Food for People is a signature TPRF program that has similarly helped empower people in critical need by providing over 5.2 million meals and crisis relief in India, Nepal and Ghana.
Providing humanitarian aid is a key part of Prem Rawat’s vision for TPRF, which he founded in 2001 to help people live in dignity, peace and prosperity by addressing fundamental human needs.
Last year he met with Durban officials to determine how to best help flood victims and discuss his approach to helping each other through hard times.
Prem Rawat is currently on a tour of South Africa to help address people’s fundamental need for peace. At events throughout the country he is highlighting the Peace Education Program providing practical guidance on how to experience personal peace by looking within and getting in touch with your heart.
Prem Rawat’s Peace Education Program, administered by TPRF, is growing in popularity across South Africa and the world by giving participants the opportunity to focus and reflect on their own humanity and their inner resources such as choice, hope and dignity. Over 300,000 people in more than 80 countries have participated in the program, including over 26,000 people in South Africa. Many report profound benefits such as enhanced self-awareness, tolerance and contentment.
Peace Education Program Director Willow Baker (pictured in the middle) recently met with members of the Likhon iThemba team in Durban.